AWAY IN A MANGER written in 1883
Children enjoy Christmas more than any other time of the year, and most adults share in that joy. This song is considered a children’s carol, but its simple beauty and power are loved equally by people of all ages. It has always been my favorite Christmas carol.
For many years this carol was attributed to Martin Luther, but Luther was probably not the author. The first 2 verses appeared for the first time in a Lutheran hymnal in 1885. The next publisher to pick it up called it “Luther’s Cradle Hymn”… assuming since it was not attributed to anyone else and was in a Lutheran hymnal, it must have been written by Luther. The hymn is found nowhere among Luther’s works. It has been suggested that the words were written specifically for Luther’s 400th anniversary and then credited to him as a marketing gimmick.
The third verse was written by a Methodist minister in the early 1900s.
Regardless of its author, the beauty of this carol is the beauty of Christmas. It is so simple. Christmas is not the gold and glitter, the wrappings and trappings. It is the story of God humbling Himself to become a baby, born in crude circumstances to a young woman in ancient Palestine.
This song is my favorite Christmas song…
Read this carol, and – today – try singing it… softly. It’s what Christmas is all about.
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head;
the stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay;
the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.
The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
I love you, Lord Jesus: look down from the sky
and stay by my side until morning is nigh.
Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask You to stay
close by me forever and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Your tender care;
prepare us for heaven to live with You there.